I wonder what would happen if Dudley grew up in the wizarding world but still as a muggle? like kind of reverse AU where his parents are dead and he has to go to Lily for whatever reason? do you think he would become bitter like Petunia about magic?
Lily remembered her sister, how there had been a time she was curious
and delighted about magic, before it slowly sank in that she could look
and not touch.
The last thing Petunia had said to Lily before she
died was a chilly goodbye, ending a holiday dinner where they’d had a
shrieking row in the entryway. Petunia had said freak and Lily had hissed better than this, better than this being my whole fucking world, Tune, do you even see yourself, are you happy–
now here was Dudley Vernon Dursley fussing himself to sleep as Lily
walked the halls of the Godric’s Hollow house. His tiny soft hands with
their tiny soft fingernails curled under her chin, the same way Harry
She passed James, who was gently bouncing his way up
the hall the opposite way. “I think he’s asleep,” James mouthed over
Harry’s tousled head. His hair was the same mess, bent down to peer at
his sleeping son.
Lily stopped where she stood, her nephew heavy
on her chest, her husband smiling, her sister buried. “James,” she said.
“How are we going to do this?”
“Oh,” he said. “Hey. Don’t you
cry, you’ll start them off– unless you need to cry, I mean, you go
ahead, hey, sweetheart, hey, it’s alright, you just let it out.” He
stepped forward, shifting Harry gently to his other shoulder, and
pressed his forehead to hers. “We tuck them in, okay, that’s what we do
next. Then we go to our own bed, okay, and go to sleep, and when we wake
up it’ll be a new day.”
“A new day,” she said. “Another day– James, that’s the– I’m so tired.”
let’s sleep. It’ll look better in the morning,” he said. “And if it
doesn’t look better this morning, it’ll look better in the next one.”
“Better than that. I’ll show you. Every day,” he said and kissed her cold forehead.
had not shown up on the Potters’ doorstep with the milk bottles. Lily
had gotten a phone call from the landline she still had installed in
Godric’s Hollow, about an accident, and she had gone down to the Muggle
police station to identify the bodies.
The cupboard under the
stairs was filled with spiders, broomsticks, and the sewing machine
Lily’s mother had given her when she married James– that’s all. Dudley
slept downstairs. Uncle Remus taught Dudley and Harry to knock out coded
messages through the wall their rooms shared.
In the backyard,
beside a rickety porch and an ambitious hedge, James taught them to
fly– first on little tot brooms where their toes brushed the grass the
whole time, then out of the barrels of practice brooms James used for
lessons and coaching Little League Quidditch.
When the boys turned
ten, five weeks apart, they both got shiny new Nimbuses on Dudley’s
birthday (which came first), and a set of enchanted Quidditch balls on
Harry’s, to share. The Bludgers were enchanted to be very kind but
Dudley spent long afternoons whacking them far afield while Harry chased
the Snitch at his back.
Harry had a scar on his forehead, like a
jagged bit of lightning. Dudley had no scars– the car crash that had
killed his parents hadn’t touched him where he sat strapped into a car
seat in the back, chewing on a stuffed dinosaur toy.
Lily did not
believe in lying to the children. She was bare years off being a child
herself, and spare moments on the far side of a war. When Dudley asked
about his parents, she told him there had been an accident. She pulled
pictures off the shelf and wrote Petunia’s old university friends for
Photographs came by mailman, the images still and unnatural
to Dudley’s eye. Every day he’d gone out to play, for years, he’d been
waving at the picture near the back door of his aunt and uncle on their
wedding day, and they waved back every time.
“She was very clever,” Lily said. “Your mom liked to know everything.”
“And my dad?”
“Vernon liked… cars?” James offered. “That’s the word, right, Lily?”
didn’t know him very well,” Lily said. “He liked drills, I think; he
worked for a firm that made them, and he talked about that a lot.”
brushed his thumbs over the dull edges of the photos. When Lily went
off to Auror headquarters the next morning for work, James bundled the
boys up and took them on an impromptu invisible tour of Grunnings Drill
They tiptoed down halls and past water coolers
and ringing fellytones. They held hands under the Cloak as they dodged
around the machines on the manufacturing floor, thumping and pounding
and whirring away loudly enough that Harry and Dudley could whisper to
each other under the noise. An elevator took them all the way up to the
top floor. Harry whistled cheerily and eerily along with the elevator
music while the Muggles slowly edged toward the doors and pressed floor
buttons lower than they’d originally wanted.
There were boxes and
cabinets and folders and desks and staticky monitor screens full of
numbers strewn in endless grids. “Merlin’s knuckles,” said Harry, who
was seven and a half and rather proud of this expletive. “People can
look at this all day, their whole lives, and not die?”
“Work is hard work,” said James.
“At least mum gets to curse things.”
my dad liked it?” Dudley said, peering at a white board that was
bleeding enthusiastic marker. “There’s a lot of things, here. Maybe he
liked knowing things, too.”
When the boys asked about the scar on
Harry’s forehead, Lily and James looked at each other. “You know how
sometimes we sit with Uncle Remus and talk about a war?” James said. “Or
with Ms. Amelia or Mr. Mundungus.”
“Mr. Mundungus is kinda smelly,” Harry said helpfully.
“It’s not nice to say so though,” said James, and Lily made a face.
“Are we raising them to be nice?” Lily said.
“I’m trying,” said James.
“You talk about a war,” said Harry and shrugged. Dudley nodded.
“There was a very bad man, in those days,” said James.
“Voldemort,” said Lily, and James made a face.
was so scary a lot of people don’t like to say his name, even now,”
said James. “And he was coming after us because we had been fighting
against him, in the war. He came to the house and he tried to hurt you,
Harry. But it didn’t work. It hurt him instead, and gave you that scar.”
“Is he going to come back?” said Dudley, who was paler than his normal pink.
“No one’s heard of him since then,” said Lily.
“Where were you?” said Harry, because all his life they had been right there.
“Oh,” said Lily, but her throat closed up.
were at Dudley’s mum and dad’s funeral,” said James. “Our friend– our
friend Sirius was watching you two. The bad man, he came to the house.
He. Well. I.”
“Sirius died,” said Lily, one hand squeezing James’s
knee and the other reaching down to brush hair off Dudley’s forehead.
“You lived, Harry, and Voldemort vanished. And that’s why sometimes
people stare in the streets, baby.” James tweaked Harry’s collar
Two days after they had buried Lily’s sister,
the Potters had stood together in the first chills of November and
buried James’s brother.
Sirius had been burned off the Black
family tree years before. Lily and James had talked to his cousin
Andromeda, to Remus, and then they had laid him to rest in the Potter
family plot. At the wake, they’d told old jokes about squirrel breath,
shedding, and man’s best friend. Remus had fallen asleep on their couch
and stayed for a month.
It took a two hour row with HR for Lily to get two passes to the Ministry’s Bring Your Kid To Work Day.
“He’s a Muggle.”
“He’s not,” Lily snapped. “He’s family.”
had to get permission, sign a million forms, and she also had to take
the boys in early so that Dudley could get smothered in the spells that
would keep the Anti-Muggle wards around the Ministry from activating on
him. “If a Muggle stumbles in somehow, they just see a funny-smelling
supply cabinet and turn back around,” Lily told Dudley. He nodded and
dragged Harry off by the wrist to go look at the fountain.
windows were pouring sunlight into the underground room– the
maintenance workers had just gotten a win on their contract negotiations
and had banished the grimy rain-spattered windows of the previous
weeks. The light hit the falling water, the golden statues, and the
small excitable crowd of Ministry dependents who were gathering in the
atrium. Dudley was fishing about in the fountain for Knuts to toss back
out again, elbow-deep, and Harry was laughing and coming up with weird
wishes to make on them.
Lily hadn’t said son. She’d said family, and that was true enough, wasn’t it? She didn’t say son–
she had a son, and she had a nephew, a ward, another child who came to
her after nightmares and scraped knees. It was not less, it was just
Lily worried about stealing more things from Petunia. Tuney
had shrieked at her, in ladies’ restrooms and suburban foyers, had
hissed at her in grocery store aisles and family dinners, because Lily
got everything. And now Lily had her son.
Lily could just imagine it– could just see Petunia’s face twisting and chin stabbing at the air. You could have anything, and you took my son– my son!
left him to me,” Lily whispered, but that wasn’t quite right. “You
left,” she whispered, and that wasn’t quite right either, so she strode
off toward the fountain to ask the boys if they wanted to go see the
Auror spellwork ranges. Dudley’s sodden shirt sleeves dripped all over
the Ministry floors. Harry’s hair fell down into his eyes and they both
grinned bright enough to rival the spelled sunlight.
You know that soulmate AU trope where the first thing your soulmate(s) says to you is some how magically engraved on your wrist? Why are those stories set in worlds that are otherwise socially normal?
I mean really. If everything was exactly the same except for this trope think of how many people would have hello written on their wrist. Think of how many people would meet the wrong person but hit it off anyway and think well this must be my soulmate(s) because we get along more or less. Think of how many people would get married and have a life and a dog and like start up some kind of artisanal meat market or something and then find out that they married the “wrong” person. Like, people wouldn’t be signing prenups, this is your soulmate it should last forever. So now you’re stuck in this crazy legal battle with your fake soulmate while your real soulmate is like trying to fend off people who also have hello on their wrist and think they’re making the wrong choice. Divorce lawyers would probably make it big in this hypothetical world.
But. I don’t think the above is actually all that likely when you consider that this would be a world where everyone knows that the first thing you say to your soulmate(s) is on your wrist. I think a whole world of this trope would basically teach people that you don’t say hello to strangers.
Instead you blurt out something very original. Last thursday I ate a live worm! I own a collection of glass eyes! I’m secretly a super villain and this is my android body! You know. Distinctive. Something that isn’t likely to be ambiguous.
Think of the possibilities. Think of a society that celebrates truly unique first words. People could see someone and spend hours agonizing over what ridiculous thing they want their first words to be. An unusual metaphor for your undying love? A declaration about how much you like snails? A compliment no one could have ever possibly said to them before? Your nose is a glorious rendition of the Summer Triangle.
Kids would grow up being encouraged to say outlandish things. You wouldn’t be told to stop saying silly things. You would be told to make sure not to copy the silly things your friend said. Think of how careful parents would be about introducing very young children to new people. Kids that are too young might meet their soulmate and not realize it. They could miss their one chance because they were too busy fighting over a little mermaid eraser.
What about people who can’t read? What about people who are blind?
You wouldn’t say sorry if you bumped into someone on the street. You’d either stay silent or shout something oddball out first, I shove lilacs up my nose. and only then do you say sorry.
Imagine “speed meets”. Groups that organize meetups between complete strangers. You’re in a room with a hundred other people. Line up and start saying outrageous things. I am actually a hippopotamus. No? Okay next. I wish to own seven hundred thirty one and a half dalmatian mice. No? Alright. Next. One day I will travel to Europa in the fanciest of hats. And then the other person grins, Well captain it’s not naked if you’re wearing a hat. And damn they have been waiting years to say that line.
One of the things that Riordan didn’t do so well at was showing how the Seven’s experiences as children shaped them later in life. Because anyone who goes through half the stuff that the seven has knows that it leaves its marks.
I don’t care how great of a guy Paul Blofis is - Percy will still watch his every move, checking in with his mom and carefully watching for any sign that she was being mistreated. It happened before and he wouldn’t let it happen again. He flinches every time someone goes to give him a high-five, and while he’s slowly getting better that instinct to duck will never fully go away. People tease him because its weird for a kid his age to be so close to his mother, but he doesn’t care.
It took Annabeth YEARS to get to the point where she trusted Chiron enough to treat him like the father-figure he became. She kept waiting for that other shoe to drop, for him to realize that she wasn’t worth keeping around. Keeps waiting for Sally to turn on her, to say ‘stay away from my family, you aren’t safe’. Except for Percy, there has been no one in her life that she can rely on no matter what. Even though she knows he won’t, there’s a voice in the back of her head that says its only a matter of time until he leaves her too.
Nico wears terrifying clothes not because he’s the son of Hades, but because they scare people away. The less people that are close to him, the smaller the chances of people getting hurt because of him. He’s a control freak - if he is on a quest he plans out every last detail, and he has to run point. He volunteers for every quest that he can. The last time he let someone else lead while he stayed home, Bianca died. He doesn’t want anyone else to have to go through that pain. He hoards food - peanuts, protein bars, things that have lots of protein and fat in them.
Frank lives every day like it’s his last, because it just might be.
Hazel crosses the street when she sees a group of white men, and is extra polite to police officers. She still has to remind herself that she can sit wherever she wants, that she can eat at any restaurant, that she can go to the bathroom in any women’s restroom. She hates swimming more than anything, because she’s seen first-hand what happened to black people who swam in the pool.
Leo wakes up every morning and has to remind himself to smile. He cracks jokes because he can. But also because he thinks that he can’t be too much of a monster if he can make people laugh. He can never get comfortable staying in one place for too long - he’s constantly on edge, waiting to be sent to the next home. He dreams of fiery garages and his friends turning on him, calling him 'el diablo’ before they try and kill him.
And this is before you factor in the PTSD of surviving multiple battles, the worries and fears that go hand-in-hand with being a demigod.
my favorite dnd shenanigan is when our kenku party member (who can talk to birds) discovered that my ranger’s animal companion (a falcon) had invented her own unit of measurement with which to measure distances, except that the unit doesnt have a name
basically: “hey nym, how far are we from the keep?” “three”
While millions of
people in North America headed outside to watch the eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017, hundreds of scientists got out telescopes, set up instruments, and
prepared balloon launches – all so they could study the Sun and its complicated
influence on Earth.
eclipses happen about once every 18 months somewhere in the world, but the
August eclipse was rare because of its long path over land. The total eclipse
lasted more than 90 minutes over land, from when it first reached Oregon to
when it left the U.S. in South Carolina.
This meant that
scientists could collect more data from land than during most eclipses, giving
us new insight into our world and the star that powers it.
A moment in the Sun’s
During a total solar
eclipse, the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, is visible from Earth. It’s
normally too dim to see next to the Sun’s bright face, but, during an eclipse, the
Moon blocks out the Sun, revealing the corona.
Image Credit: Peter Aniol, Miloslav Druckmüller and Shadia Habbal
Though we can
study parts of the corona with instruments that create artificial eclipses, some
of the innermost regions of the corona are only visible during total solar
eclipses. Solar scientists think this part of the corona may hold the secrets
to some of our most fundamental questions about the Sun: Like how the solar
wind – the constant flow of magnetized material that streams out from the Sun
and fills the solar system – is accelerated, and why the corona is so much
hotter than the Sun’s surface below.
where you were, someone watching the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 might have
been able to see the Moon completely obscuring the Sun for up to two minutes
and 42 seconds. One scientist wanted to stretch that even further – so he used
a pair of our WB-57 jets to chase the path of the Moon’s shadow, giving their
telescopes an uninterrupted view of the solar corona for just over seven and half minutes.
telescopes were originally designed to help monitor space shuttle launches, and
the eclipse campaign was their first airborne astronomy project!
scientists weren’t the only ones who had the idea to stretch out their view of
the eclipse: The Citizen CATE project (short for Continental-America Telescopic
Eclipse) did something similar, but with the help of hundreds of citizen scientists.
Citizen CATE included
68 identical small telescopes spread out across the path of totality, operated
by citizen and student scientists. As the Moon’s shadow left one telescope, it reached
the next one in the lineup, giving scientists a longer look at the way the
corona changes throughout the eclipse.
accounting for clouds, Citizen CATE telescopes were able to collect 82 minutes
of images, out of the 93 total minutes that the eclipse was over the US. Their
images will help scientists study the dynamics of the inner corona, including
fast solar wind flows near the Sun’s north and south poles.
The magnetized solar
wind can interact with Earth’s magnetic field, causing auroras, interfering
with satellites, and – in extreme cases – even straining our power systems, and
all these measurements will help us better understand how the Sun sends this
material speeding out into space.
Exploring the Sun-Earth
used the eclipse as a natural laboratory to explore the Sun’s complicated
influence on Earth.
High in Earth’s
upper atmosphere, above the ozone layer, the Sun’s intense radiation creates a
layer of electrified particles called the ionosphere. This region of the
atmosphere reacts to changes from both Earth below and space above. Such
changes in the lower atmosphere or space weather can manifest as disruptions in
the ionosphere that can interfere with communication and navigation signals.
One group of
scientists used the eclipse to test computer models of the ionosphere’s effects
on these communications signals. They predicted that radio signals would travel
farther during the eclipse because of a drop in the number of energized particles.
Their eclipse day data – collected by scientists spread out across the US and
by thousands of amateur radio operators – proved that prediction right.
experiment, scientists used the Eclipse Ballooning Project to investigate the eclipse’s effects
lower in the atmosphere. The project incorporated weather balloon flights from
a dozen locations to form a picture of how Earth’s lower atmosphere – the part
we interact with and which directly affects our weather – reacted to the
eclipse. They found that the planetary boundary layer, the lowest part of
Earth’s atmosphere, actually moved closer to Earth during the eclipse, dropped
down nearly to its nighttime altitude.
A handful of these
balloons also flew cards containing harmless bacteria to explore the potential
of other planets with Earth-born life. Earth’s stratosphere is similar to the surface of Mars, except in one main way:
the amount of sunlight. But during the eclipse, the level of sunlight dropped
to something closer to what you’d expect to see on Mars, making this the
perfect testbed to explore whether Earth microbes could hitch a ride to the Red
Planet and survive. Scientists are working through the data collected, hoping
to build up better information to help robotic and human explorers alike avoid
carrying bacterial hitchhikers to Mars.
Image: The small metal card used to transport bacteria.
EPIC instrument aboard NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite provided awe-inspiring views of the
eclipse, but it’s also helping scientists understand Earth’s energy balance. Earth’s energy system is in a constant
dance to maintain a balance between incoming radiation from the Sun and
outgoing radiation from Earth to space, which scientists call the Earth’s
energy budget. The role of clouds, both thick and thin, is important in their
effect on energy balance.
Like a giant
cloud, the Moon during the total solar eclipse cast a large shadow across a
swath of the United States. Scientists know the dimensions and light-blocking
properties of the Moon, so they used ground- and space-based instruments to
learn how this large shadow affects the amount of sunlight reaching Earth’s
surface, especially around the edges of the shadow. Measurements from EPIC show
a 10% drop in light reflected from Earth during the eclipse (compared to about
1% on a normal day). That number will help scientists model how clouds radiate the
Sun’s energy – which drives our planet’s ocean currents, seasons, weather and
climate – away from our planet.
Request by anon: hi, can you please do a peter parker x reader imagine where the reader is tony starks daughter or something and she and peter hate each other but they low key have sexual tension or something like that? and the imagine ends with them kissing or something? idk sorry if that didn’t make sense
No spoilers homie
Y/N Stark always wanted a normal life. She hated being known as Iron Man’s daughter. She hated not being a normal teenager. For her entire life, she was home schooled,being taught from the best in New York. So of course, she wanted to go to a high school, to have the experience of hating her teachers and falling in love.
The first day of freshmen year was strange at Midtown High, most people didn’t know who she was until she told them her name. Rumors had been going around about the infamous Y/N Stark was attending Midtown, but nobody thought of it to be true.
Teachers would kiss up to her, not wanting to face the wrath of her father, Tony Stark. Everyone wanted to be her friend by the Friday of her first week in high school, everyone but one person, Peter Parker. He hated how she got treated like royalty by the teacher and the students, especially Flash, who did anything to get her attention. He hated how her grades were as good as his. The whole school knew about their rivalry quickly into freshmen year.
After Peter got bitten by the radioactive spider that gave him his powers, he knew he had to do something with his ability. Like his Uncle said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” This only convinced him more that he should be out there, protecting the people of New York. He was also happy that he finally got something that Y/N didn’t have.
He would never admit it to anyone, but he thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world. When she was around him, he was captivated by her beauty. They would share glances in the hallway but would both quickly look away from embarrassment.
Y/N didn’t hate him, she tried to be nice to him. She didn’t like how her dad gave Peter all of his attention, but she understood it was for a good reason. The two teens were always battling for first place for everything such as science fairs and debates. They were always neck and neck, him beating her as much as she did him. But, she thought it was cute when Peter did little things like tap his fingertips on his desk when he was nervous or whenever he spoke, she was drawn to his lips. She thought Peter was cute in general.
Most people saw his ‘hatred’ for her as love masked with hate. Everyone thought that by the end of high school the two would be dating. Peter’s friends tried convincing him to talk to her, nicely, but he wouldn’t. Y/N’s friends tried to get the two smartest kids at Midtown High together, but it just failed.
“Hey Dad?” Y/N asked while she sat at the dinner table alone with her father. He looked up from his food, “Hmm?” He mumbled back to her, with food in his mouth.
“Can I go to a-a party tonight?” She questioned, playing with the food on her fork.
“Where is it?” Tony asked, stuffing food into his mouth. Y/N looked up at him, “Queens. In the suburbs. A lot of my friends are going.” She added.
Tony nodded his head, “Fine you can go.” Y/N looked at her dad, eyes wide. “Really?” She exclaimed.
“Yes. But no drinking,” He stated, pointing his finger at her but paused, “Okay. Minimal drinking.”
Y/N smiled widely, nodding her head muttering, “Yeah, yeah of course. Thank you.” She ran up to Tony and hugged him.
She left her chair and went to hug him. “Let me take you.” He said as he hugged her back. Y/N pulled away furrowed her eyebrows, slightly confused at the man, “Why?” Usually if Y/N had somewhere to be, Tony made someone else take her so the act was strange.
Tony smirked, “Come on, you’d be the coolest person there because I have sweet cars.” Y/N nodded her head, agreeing with him. “Okay, well I’m gonna go get ready.” She beamed, running up the stairs.
Tony pulled up to you’re friends house, music blaring and red solo cups already littering the ground. He looked at Y/N, wondering where all the time went. “Ugh, you’re growing up, guess it had to happen sooner or later,” He joked, making Y/N giggle.
“I’m gonna go, I’ll call you when it’s over, or text you if I’m staying the night, alright?” She asked, exiting the car. Some of the teens who were standing outside or just got dropped off were staring in shock. Tony Stark just dropped his teenage daughter off at a party in a, most likely, a very expensive car.
Y/N slammed the door shut, “Bye Dad!” She waved with a smile, waiting for him to drive away.Tony smiled at his daughter, bidding his farewell before speeding away.
“God, she irritates me. She would obviously have her rich daddy drive her here in a cool ass car just to make herself look good.” Peter groaned as he went inside with Ned.
“Or maybe he wanted to take his daughter to a high school party?” Ned suggested, realizing that the statement didn’t make much sense. The boys walked over to the drink table. Booze, booze, booze. Whatever. Peter soon found the fridge and got water, in a red cup so people wouldn’t call him so prude.
Y/N had found a couple of her friends to hang out with. They were already buzzed, she wanted to stay sober just to make sure her friends got home safely.
Halfway through the party, Flash, the host, shouted, “Yo, if anyone wants to play seven minutes in heaven, bring your ass over here!”
About half a dozen people followed him. Everyone at the party was either too drunk to car about his statement or didn’t want to play the game where they were locked in a closet with a stranger. “Come on, let’s go.” One of her friends exclaimed.
“Yeah let’s go.” Herr other friend yelled.
“Um, I don’t think it’s a good idea.” She shouted over the loud music. Her friends rolled their eyes and grabbed either of her arms, dragging her in Flash’s direction. The group of people who wanted to play were already there, sitting in a circle, around a bottle that was resting on a table. She looked at the faces of all the people, and was met with the grimace of Peter Parker.
Her friends found an open spot in the circle so naturally, Y/N sat with them, sitting diagonally across from Peter. “You all should know how the game works. But, to those of you who don’t [cough] Peter Parker [cough].” Flash boomed, making his friends laugh. Y/N felt bad for him, he didn’t deserve to be treated badly. No one does.
“Whoever wants to start, will spin the bottle. Whoever the bottle lands on, you have to go into that closet,” He said, pointing to a closet nearby, “for seven minutes with that person. You can do whatever you want in there cause it’ll be locked. After seven minutes I’ll open the door and yeah. Start the process over again with the person next to you. So, who’s first?”
It was about 4 rounds into the game, and Y/N was getting bored. But she was glad she didn’t have to go in yet. After a pair came out of the closet, with lipstick smeared all over their faces it was Peter’s turn. “Be cool about it, there are a lot of hot girls in this circle man.” Ned whispered when Peter spun the bottle. Peter nodded his head, agreeing with his friend.
The bottle spun slower and slower, Peter’s hands were starting to get clammy. The bottle stopped and he looked up from the green glass. The person sitting in front of it was none other than Y/N Stark. All the teenagers froze, shocked at what had happened. “I-I gotta go,” Peter mutter, standing up from his seat on one of the couches.
“Na-na-na-na no,” Peter felt a hand on his shoulder, turning to see Flash, “You’re gonna go into that closet with your best friend Y/N.” Flash finished sarcastically, pulling Peter over to Y/N, before grabbing her arm and pushing them into the closet. Flash slammed the door closed, making the two flinch.
“Seven minutes starts now,” Flash shouted from behind the door, before walking away towards the group of teens.
It was quiet for about thirty seconds, the two both scared of talking to the other. There was enough space in the closet to leave you both a couple inches apart, but only a couple inches. “Um, I’m sorry you had to do this,” Y/N apologized sympathetically, “I should’ve never come to this stupid party.” She muttered the last part, shaking her head. Peter stayed silent, holding one arm with the other.
“Why do you hate me so much?” Y/N asked, desperate to know.
Peter sighed, “I-I don’t hate you. It’s just,” he paused, not knowing what to say, “I was so used to being the smartest kid in class and suddenly you show up, beating me in nearly everything. I guess I was just, jealous of what you had.” He admitted honestly, slightly frustrated. Looking down in between the two to look at his shoes. “You have everything in the world. You have a lot of money, a rich dad, and a bunch of friends.You’re fucking perfect. I don’t have anything like that.”
“I’m sorry,” Y/N apologized again, feeling bad for him. She started playing with her thumbs, “But, I’m not perfect, I hated what I had. My rich dad gives you more attention now than he gives me because of the whole, superhero thing.” She whispered the last part, not knowing if anyone was listening, “My friends only want to be friends with me because of my name and the money I have. It sucks, ya know?” Y/N finished, a few tears leaking from her eyes.
“I, I didn’t know you felt that way,” He said, regretting the way he has treated this girl for the past couple of years. He moved forward, closing the space between them, moving his hands to cup her cheeks, brushing away her tears with his thumbs.
“You didn’t deserve the way I treated you. I didn’t know what things were like for you. I am so sorry I was so rude to you.” He apologized, leaning his forehead against hers. Y/N reached up and placed her hands on his shoulders, squeezing reassuringly.
“You didn’t know, it’s alright.” She whispered, her breath fanning against his cheeks, and a small, understanding smile on her lips.
“But it’s not alright,” Peter murmured, rubbing one of his thumbs on her cheek. Y/N closed her eyes for a second, “If you kiss me, I’ll forgive you.” He looked at her slightly shocked. But he closed his eyes and tilted his head slightly to the right before leaning in and capturing her lips with his. She closed her eyes once again, putting her arms around his neck and her hands into his hair.
His lips were soft, and hers tasted like candy. Her nose brushed against his cheek, but the act went unnoticed. She started playing with his hair, twirling it around her fingers.
Unbeknownst to Peter and Y/N, Flash shouted that the seven minutes were up. He moved towards the wooden door, not hearing anything coming from the other side due to the loud music. He went to unlock the door. When it opened, he froze. “Holy shit!” Flash shouted making the two kissing immediately pull apart, out of breath.
Peter had a blush rising on his face, mimicking Y/N’s. Most of the people who were playing were curious at what was happening, a crowd forming around the door. “They were just making out!” Flash shouted with a smirk on his lips, making the blush on Peter and Y/N’s face deepen.
“Alright Parker!” Someone in the crowd of people yelled, making Y/N stifle a laugh. Peter glared at her playfully. The crowd of people began to fade away, Flash telling the two to get out of the closet for the next round of people to go in.
Peter and Y/N walked to a place in the house where there wasn’t a herd of people. “So, do you want to go to the movies with me sometime?” Peter stammered, nervous about what her answer might be. Y/N smiled, “I would love too, Peter. Now, go enjoy the rest of the party. I have to go deal with my drunk friends.” She chuckled starting to back away.
Peter nodded his head understandingly, “I’ll text you then. Yeah?”
Y/N tilted her heard to the side slightly. “You better. You don’t want to make a Stark angry.” She said with a chuckle, walking back towards her friends.
Peter fist bumped the air, before whispering to himself, “I have a date….. awesome.”
“…I’m gonna show you tonight! I’m alright! I’m just fine! And you’re a tool so, so what?”
You belted your heart out up on stage, pumping your fist in the air to empower your words even further. It was a good thing you knew all the words, too, because your mates had bought you so many drinks your vision was crossed and blurred you couldn’t have read the lyrics to an unfamiliar song. Then you would have just been a blubbering fool butchering a karaoke performance. And that would have been embarrassing.
Singing yourself blue in the face—and drinking yourself into oblivion—served as the perfect outlet for your aching heart. Hours earlier, you’d been dumped. Or more accurately, replaced.
It’d been a week since you’d heard from your long-term boyfriend, and while you knew he was on holiday with his mates—a holiday you hadn’t been invited on—it was still odd that you hadn’t heard from him at all. Not even a text to let you know that he’d made it to Amsterdam. You didn’t expect too much communication; you trusted him to treat you right, but, silly you, you thought your boyfriend might actually miss you and want to say hi.
Last night after seven and a half days of nothing, you completely lost it and called him forty-seven times in a row. And not a single one was answered. So you rang your closest friends and they came over, laptops and tablets in hand, and intense cyber-stalking commenced.
It only took thirty-four minutes for your good mate Lindsey to unearth a damning post on Insta that your boyfriend was tagged in by a girl you kind of knew. The picture itself wasn’t awful; honestly you couldn’t make out much besides silhouettes and drinks. Even the caption wasn’t much; all it said was, “this guy” with a random slew of emojis. But the funny thing was, when you tried to search for it yourself, nothing came up. Meaning you were blocked. You weren’t meant to see this picture.
Twenty-two minutes of super-sleuthing was enough time for your oldest friend Ashley to find every social media account the girl had, and then eventually uncover her phone number.
In thirteen minutes you had a text drafted to her that was so long it was broken into five different parts when you hit send.
And one minute and fifty-four seconds is all the time your boyfriend—well ex-boyfriend—allowed you to speak to him today before he told you he was coming back tomorrow and there’d be no need for you to come see him. Tomorrow or ever again.
So your mates did what they knew best. They took you out, got you absolutely smashed, and then got you up on stage to pour your heart out. Somewhere in between I Will Survive and Total Eclipse of the Heart, you got a bit weepy and ended up calling your brother from the toilet. It took you awhile to realize you weren’t actually sobbing to him but his voicemail, and as soon as you did you pulled yourself back together and headed out for another drink and a rousing rendition of Since U Been Gone.
The few other patrons in the pub were hardly paying attention to your drunken warbling on stage, only breaking from their conversations when your mates would cheer at the end of each song, some of them even offering half-hearted claps. If they were annoyed, they certainly didn’t let on. Most likely, they pitied you; for Christ sake, you pitied you.
When your song ended, you finished the rest of your drink and began flipping through the songbook. Liberation was surging through you and you wanted a song to match your mood; something to serve as a proper fuck you to the twat you’d wasted the last few years of your young life on.
The book closed on your fingers, and you stumbled back in surprise. Were books automated now too?! You still weren’t over the automated tills at Tesco, would you now have to get used to robotic books closing on you when they’d had enough?!
You looked up, your blurred vision slowly coming into focus as you swayed on the spot. A robotic book didn’t close itself on you, a person had closed it. Which was rather rude of them.
“[Y/N],” he repeated. Finally he came into view and you cocked your head in confusion.
“Hazza?” you slurred, taking a step closer to get a better look. You nearly toppled off the stage, but Harry was quick to grab you by the waist and steady you before easing you down.
Don’t ever tell me that marching band isn’t important.
I have had so many problems with public schools putting all the emphasis on athletics. When a school’s budget is cut, they don’t choose to take a little from each program. No. They choose to completely eradicate the arts programs, usually starting with the marching band. If you don’t play sports, you’re not a valuable asset, you’re not qualified for scholarships, and you mean nothing. Marching band? Why would we be impressed that you’re in marching band?
Anyone can do that.
Okay, fine. Anyone can do marching band. Anyone can spend hours on the field doing the same forty-second section over and over and over and over. Anyone can hit over 75 precise dots on the field with the correct step sizes, the correct amount of steps, the correct timing, without being so much as an inch to either side, in order and without looking at the yard line markers or the field. Anyone can memorize all of those extremely specific points on the grass and varying counts for steps and then execute them with a shako visor pulled down over your eyes and looking up at the press box the whole time. If you look down at the yard line markers to see where you are, congratulations, you just lost points for the group.
Anyone can memorize eight pages of notes, rhythms, dynamics, phrasing, and tempos. (But of course, before you do that you have to learn an instrument with hundreds of different fingerings and learn how to make slight changes in your lips to change notes and stay in tune.) Memorize all seven and a half minutes of music and then marry it to the seventy-five pages of drill you memorized. Do them both perfectly and at the same time. But you can’t just do what you memorized. You have to do it in perfect sync with everyone around you and know how to make the slightest adjustments to fit perfectly within the group. If you’re an inch to the right or barely a thousandth of a step sharp, it’ll throw everything off.
But anyone can do that.
Then add in the fact that you don’t get any individual credit for doing this. The closest you’ll come to recognition is your identity lumped into “The Such-and-Such Marching Band” as you all march onto the field looking exactly the same. You don’t have a number on your back. You have a uniform intended to erase you and turn you into dot T14 and nothing more.
But, for some reason you can’t explain, you love it. You love throwing everything you have into this ridiculously precise pursuit and then not getting any credit for it. You start thanking people when they call you a band geek. You start taping pictures of marching bands into your locker. You start wearing your band shirt everywhere you go. Because you look at the person in an identical uniform next to you and you know that you’ve done this for them and they’ve done this for you. This is more than just a team, this is a family; and if one person is missing from the form, the show can’t ever be the same.
It costs so much money, so much time. You’re out there on the field in the blazing sun for fourteen hours a day during summer band camp, out in the street getting frostbite on your fingertips during the holiday parade. If anyone knew what you went through for this, they would wonder what made it all worth it.
And the truth is, what makes it all worth it cannot be described. It’s the camaraderie between you and the center snare, the colorguard newbie, the tenor sax player in the set in front of you. It’s the sunset behind you lighting up the back of your plume. It’s the hazy nostalgia that racks your chest with emotion. There’s something about the family you’ve chosen and the experience you’ve internalized that gives you the passion to throw everything down onto that field like nothing else matters in the world… because in that moment, it’s true.
Your nerves are damaged from the cold. Your skin is damaged from the sun. Your joints are damaged from marching and marching and marching. You’re physically and mentally drained, your body is irreversibly compromised, you’re broke as hell, and all you have to show for it is a polyester jacket and a couple of blurry photographs.
But sports are what require hard work and dedication, not marching band.
Even though you complained basically the entire time you marched and even though you’re done with it, you pull out those photographs and you remember. You remember your first day of high school band camp when you had absolutely no idea what you were getting yourself into. You remember your first final retreat when they announced your band’s name as state champions, and you wanted to cry with happiness but you weren’t allowed to move, so you just clenched your fists so tight that your fingernails dug white crescents into your palms. You remember coming back the next year and thinking you knew everything as a sophomore, only to realize there was still so much to learn. You remember the band trips you spent months fundraising for, all the lame tourist attractions you visited between performances, and how you wouldn’t trade those memories for all the money in the world. You remember being a junior and getting nervous because people looked up to you now: as an upperclassman, as a section leader, as a friend. And then you were a senior and you cried on the final day of band camp. You remember how your life became a series of lasts. You had to decide which of the freshmen would inherit your band cubby, your lucky bottle of valve oil, your bus seat. You went to graduation but it didn’t mean anything because you still had one last band trip coming up. You didn’t shed a tear when you tossed your cap but you cried like a child after your last parade. You remember on the plane ride home, you expected to feel devastated and heartbroken, but you just felt… empty.
You remember printing out what seemed like the most difficult solo in the world. You remember driving up to your college and entering a room with a chair and a stand and a couple of people giving you skeptical looks. You remember getting an email from the college marching band with your audition results and reading it with tears of joy in your eyes because you realized it was starting all over again.
But marching band doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t matter.
Tell me that it doesn’t matter. Tell me as many times as you want. You could scream it in my face and I still wouldn’t hear because the music we’re making is too damn loud to let anything else in.
Tell me that it doesn’t matter when I’m standing on the field for the last time, knowing that everything behind me will last forever and that nothing will ever mean more to me than this… and all you’ve got is some money and a jersey with a number on the back.
Do not ever tell me that marching band isn’t important. It is everything to me, and it is everything to millions of other band geeks across the world.
When you refuse to support kids because they participate in the arts rather than athletics, you’re no better than the football player who takes lunch money from nerds.
To all of my fellow band geeks… keep marching, even if the world tells you it’s not worth it. It is. God, it is worth it, in ways no one else but you will ever understand. Continue your band career in college. Audition for a drum corps. Stay active in your high school band as an alumnus supporter. You are all my family.